There's More To A Cake Than Flour And Water
The main character, Angel, bakes cakes. Her cakes are far more than an edible pastry. Each cake she bakes celebrates an occasion that is laced with sadness and despair, as no one has gone untouched by the horrors of genocide Rwanda lived through. If that was not enough, Africa has been haunted further by the impact of the AIDS epidemic. Despite these conditions, Angel brings hope and healing with every cake she bakes. This is a book that cannot be put aside. It begs to be read, just as Angels cakes beg to be eaten. Ill be looking forward to the next slice Gail Parkin cooks up!
Rated of 5
by Julie R. (Jefferson, ME)
Cakes and conversations in Africa
Angel Tungaraza, main character of Baking cakes in Kigale, serves her customers by baking cakes to bring them pleasure and by offering personal advice to solve their problems. Over a cup of tea, with wit and wisdom, she seeks out her customers' needs, but slyly suggests her own ideas to create the best cakes. Her conversations include health issues, affairs of state, women's rights and problems of the heart - always with regard to suggesting a possible solution to a customer's dilemma.
I was most impressed with the author's success at portraying the Rwandans' attempts to create solutions for current political and social problems while maintaining their traditions. This book entertains, but also details how the African has experienced genocide, corrupt government and AIDS and yet survives to develop a daily life of tradition imbued with responsibility, joy, mirth and caring. Creating cakes with conversations - a clever maneuver to acquaint the reader with a part of present day Africa.
Rated of 5
by Denice B. (Fort Bragg, CA)
Baking Cakes in Kigali
This is an engaging, episodic story, even though at times a little contrived with the dropping of buzz topics (feminism, lesbianism, AIDS, circumcision,). Although she is reminiscent of Alexander McCall Smith's lady detective, this book's Angel Tungaraza stands as her own person. Her wisdom and straightforward approach to life are worth adopting.
Rated of 5
by Eva R. (Westmont, IL)
The well crafted characters in this wonderful story stay with you. The book describes everyday life, friendships, history, and struggles. It's a read from a writer who delights and provokes thought about a place that most of us Americans know nothing about. It's a book that would have much to discuss for book groups. I will pass this book on as a GREAT read.
Rated of 5
by Laura A. (Jeremiah, Kentucky)
I found "Baking Cakes in Kigali" by Gaile Parkin to be an uplifting story. Dealing with the subject matter of Rwanda it could have been a very depressing book but reminded us all that even in the midst of tragedy, there is life and celebration of life. I really liked this book and the characters within it. I found Gaile Parkin to be a wonderful writer. I think this would be an excellent book club choice.
Rated of 5
by Kim B. (Arlington, TX)
This book surprised me; although I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting. It is a warm and witty story juxtaposed against an insight on HIV/AIDS in Rwanda and the lingering effects of genocide. Its a enjoyable book that opens the readers eyes to appreciate the gifts of life. Very well written. Recommend.
Rated of 5
by Robert G. (Takoma Park, MD)
A Cake To Make It Better
One might expect a story set in post-genocide Rwanda, with the spread of HIV/AIDS continuing to cut through those in the prime of life, to be weighted with misery. "Baking Cakes In Kigali" hardly ignores those realities but they are blended in with the other human issues of day-to-day life in this sweet, light tale. Angel Tungaraza has a cake for every dilemma brought her way, and every one goes away from her with a slice of hope. The string of stories that make up this novel are engaging, though they have somewhat repetitive story arcs and similar tidy resolutions. It all rides along on polite and correct conversations that give this the feel of a thoughtful and inventive children's book.
There will be inevitable comparisons to the lady detective Precious Ramotswe of Alexander McCall Smith. Both feature a profoundly decent woman wrestling with the heartaches of life and the foibles of human nature. Both place an emphasis on the positive and the heart warming, and let us see that good can triumph in the end, at least in the small battles.
There is one particularly chilling turn when Angel welcomes in an Army captain as a prospective customer, only to find that this former boy soldier has a hollow moral center and some bad intentions. I expected the story to take a turn into deeper and darker conflict. But the threat the soldier poses quickly fades, and he is last heard from as the crux of an amusing plot twist involving two other side characters.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...